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Brahmin Blues: Thoughts on Neoreaction's "Imperial Mindset"

Over at Social Matter Michael Perilloux wrote a very interesting primer on Hestia's new initiative which they have begun referring to as "Imperial Mindset." From the piece:

Without imperial mindset, we think that all politics requires of us is that we show up and fight, that we can do it for fun, and that it won’t make large demands of self-reconstruction. Thinking about politics seriously, though, we have to take a personal responsibility for the full consequences and scope of political action. We have to think about how our plans will carry through for the next few hundred years, we have to face the much larger task of working out the whole of the matter of how to rule, and we have to break down and reconstruct those parts of ourselves that come with the wrong way of thinking and are stuck in edginess and resentment. This is such an enormous burden compared to the lazier approach that our minds just slide off of it and go back to what is easy.

There are many ways to deviate from the correct political mindset, but only one way to do it right. You have to actually think about what it would mean to govern an empire well. If our problem is to restore statecraft and political sanity, we need people who know how to rule properly. To know how to rule properly, you have to think from the perspective of a ruler and build out that whole worldview. Someone, ideally a thousand very competent someones, needs to put themselves into imperial mindset and start thinking about rule.

Someone who is truly thinking about responsible approaches to solve the world’s problems, given some belief in their own ability to actually implement their ideas, is never resentful and never talking about “how to get our country back.” Their tone of thought is “we are the ruling class, or will be. Let us think how to responsibly guide this thing in a better direction in response to these complex challenges.”

When it becomes obvious that they are not the current ruling class, those with the imperial mindset don’t slip back into anarchism or resentment politics. They think like a ruling class in exile, which believes in its own mandate and competence. They see the current occupants of the imperial seat as a ridiculous pack of monkeys who don’t take their duties seriously and aren’t organized to carry them out.

Read the whole thing here.

So far, so good. The Passivist approach which is laid out here and has been laid out elsewhere is intriguing because it is so radically different compared to almost anything which has been tried before on the right. For this alone it deserves to be given a very serious look by anyone who considers themselves "on the Right." Perilloux's article covers a lot of ground, most of which I'm not going to summarize again here, so if you haven't already, go back and read it now.

As good as it is, however, there are several assumptions within the piece, which, in my view, remain highly questionable.

Perilloux mentions the important distinction between Vaisya Amerikaners and Brahmin SWPLs, (I'm personally not a huge fan of using names of Indian castes to refer to the American Class system but let's just play along here) and points out that in order for the numerically tiny Kshatriyas to emerge victorious they will have to become adept at working both sides. This insight is simultaneously correct and difficult to implement. As he seems to insinuate the Kshatriyas, being small in number, will need the assistance of both groups in order to achieve their stated goal of "restoration." One problem with this approach is that both of these groups hate each other and are, at present, actively seeking the destruction of one another. Any attempt to appeal to one runs the risk of alienating another. Of course, I'm sure that in the hands of the right group of individuals who were both deft and lucky it would be possible to somehow navigate this minefield, it just won't be very easy.

My chief criticism, however, is aimed against the contention that Brahmin cooperation is essential for the success of the project of American Restoration or even possible at all. Seeing as it is this caste that essentially controls most of the U.S. power structure, it certainly would be nice if they suddenly decided to hand you the keys to the kingdom, see the error of their ways, and call it a day. However, given that they, like most who hold power, are loathe to give it up, this seems quite unlikely to ever materialize.

Perilloux's assumption, if I am understanding it correctly, seems to be that if a Neoreactionary Vanguard, the so-called "One Thousand Statesmen," were to make themselves known through virtue and ability to govern (having "become worthy") then a critical mass of Brahmin could be won over through simply seeing the effectiveness of Neoreactionary Ideology and praxis. While this makes a certain kind of sense it fails, in my estimation, to understand the true nature of the American Brahmin caste.

American Brahmins should never be understood simply as brazen careerists or social climbing mercenaries who can be easily bought or won over by a sudden changing of the guard or greasing of the palms. Of course, many of them are soulless careerists, however, my point is that they should never be reduced to just this attribute. In reality, most are also animated by a religious devotion and worldview which frequently borders on the fanatical. Almost all of them are what we can simply refer to as "end of history Liberals." Their Eschatology is Fukuyamaist (and thus Hegelian), they aim to bring through U.S. hegemony a World spanning Utopia in which all humans have been liberated by a Hobbesian Leviathan from the chains of tradition, religion, and family obligations. Once this liberation has been achieved, once the individual has been fully "atomized," can the process of "recognition" between equals (as opposed to the master/slave dialectic of traditional societies) begin to be established.

This is their faith, the narrative which animates their entire symbolic order, and it affects their entire lives. Every television show and film they watch (which they subconsciously model their own life narratives upon), every romantic relationship they engage in, every life and career decision they make, every funeral they attend: all are events that exist within the explanatory framework of this faith (which is a kind of satire of Traditional Christianity.)

The point here is that I think it is highly unlikely that these devotees will be able to easily leave this faith, as leaving is not simply some kind of intellectual event for them. Rather, to leave their progressive, liberal faith in the "arc of history" would be a profoundly traumatic, and possibly even lethal, event for them. Their entire life narrative—the symbolic order through which they interpret their reality—would suddenly be rent asunder and they would be thrown inevitably into a terrible existential chaos. Robbed of their Liberal faith, the entire Brahmin caste would be thrown into chaos, their very purpose for existing (to help realize Fukuyama's vision) having been stripped from them.

I trust for most regular readers my assertions here will seem familiar and not need much further qualification. Regardless, the problem this poses for Perilloux's thesis is that any real restoration, as well as any genuinely reactionary political theory, will completely contradict and overtly threaten the foundational tenets of the Brahmin faith; it would be blasphemy. This inherent tension between the tenets of Reactionary thought and those of the Brahmin faith makes any significant conversion of Brahmins almost impossible. This may be inconvenient for the current stratagem in question, but this, as we say, is the stratagem's problem.

The ultimate goal, however distant it may seem at present, has to be the total annihilation of the Religion of the Brahmin. Their temples must not only be sacked but also desecrated. All that they hope for and hold dear must be utterly extinguished before their eyes. This will result, naturally in the complete liquidation of the American Brahmins as a class. After all, of what use is a priest class without their temples?

Cooperating with and attempting to convert American Brahmins may seem quite tempting, given their wealth and general competence at governing. However, in any such interaction, the incentives are rarely on the reactionary's side and he will just as likely be converted as convert. For while the Religion of the Brahmin elite may be open to technocratic, anti-democratic politics (which so many neoliberals already openly dream of) they will never be open to a Traditional, non-individualistic, moral society. Or what T.S. Eliot called a "Christian Society." The tenets of their progressive religion simply prevent them from ever entertaining this possibility. Thus, in all likelihood, any Neoreactionary attempt to work with the American Brahmins will land somewhere on the spectrum of failure. With the best case (worst case?) scenario being Neoreaction used for Liberal ends i.e. unified power being deployed to further the cause of Neoliberal bug world via the glorious reign of World Controller Zuckerberg.

In my estimation, it would be better to not wade too deeply into the Brahmin swamp in hopes of gaining allies or expertise. For, as we have all surely learned by now, in Soviet Weimerica, Swamp drains you!

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